Tomato and onion jam
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
This recipe yields about 24 ounces of jam (about three small mason jars' worth).
  • 1.5 lb tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 heavy tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt (or slightly more/less — you'll be tasting throughout the jam-making process)
  1. Add the oil to the bottom of a skillet or sauce pan over medium heat. I didn't use non-stick. Ideally, the pan would have a large surface area to help the caramelization move along faster. Through in onion and sprinkle with some salt.
  2. Stay on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Once they get to that point, lower heat to low.
  3. It will take a while (the whole caramelization process takes about 45 minutes) but at some point, your onions will start to stick a little to the bottom of the pan and get brown at the contact point. Diligently scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the onions from getting burned and to distribute the the caramelized onion sugars throughout the whole mixture. Be sure to spread out the onions after each scrape, instead of leaving them all in a lump in the middle.
  4. Sometimes the caramelized bits from the onions won't detach from the spoon. I find using two spoons helps. One scrapes; the other detaches the awesome onion goo.
  5. Toward the end of the 45 minutes, the onions will caramelize a lot faster. Turn down the heat, if possible, and stay constantly on top of the pan, stirring and scraping.
  6. Once your onions are nice and brown and delicious, add in the tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and the water. Return to medium-high heat and scrap the bits still on the bottom the pan.
  7. Once the mixture bubbles and just about starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium low and keep it at a simmer.
  8. Meanwhile, roast your fennel seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, until they are fragrant and slightly brown. Crush them with a mortar and pestle (or leave them whole if you don't have the set-up and don't want to drag out another appliance). Add them to the jam.
  9. Let the mixture reduce and reduce and reduce, until it's thick and holds itself up as a lump on a spoon. It will take an hour or more. The mixture should darken. The tomatoes should disintegrate a fair bit, with some chunks here and there.
  10. Salt once again, to taste. It's a sourish condiment, so it needs the salt to stand up against and display its layers of flavor. If preferred, add some/all of the sugar.
  11. Let the mixture cool a little bit before added to jars/containers. Store in the fridge when not using. It will store for up to a month.
Recipe by heo yeah yum at